The Keiskamma Trust was established in 2000 in the village of Hamburg, Eastern Cape, with the vision of ‘building healthy communities in all respects. Working holistically to achieve this led to the establishment of four main programs, namely Art, Music, Education, and Health. Each program has its own management team, set of specific goals, and practical means of achieving them. Together, their effects are felt in the social and political landscape of Hamburg. In the words of the Keiskamma Trust founder, Carol Hofmeyr:
“For most people in the Peddie area and further afield, Hamburg, the home of the Keiskamma Trust, has become a place of hope where relationships have transcended the divisions in South African society. I think it has shown that it is possible to restore South Africa to a place where past hurts no longer destroy present relationships.”
Keiskamma Art Project is the flagship program of the Keiskamma Trust. For over twenty years it has been the mouthpiece of the communities living alongside the Keiskamma River. Monumental embroidered artworks, from the Keiskamma Tapestry and Keiskamma Altarpiece to the Keiskamma Guernica, have toured both nationally and internationally to global acclaim and won prestigious awards. The work of the project holds a significant place in the national and international canons of art. On the ground, it generates vital livelihoods in an otherwise impoverished region of South Africa. The art project meets the need in rural communities for dignified work and income. This is achieved through a transparent and communal process of making meaningful artwork, sensitive to the collective memories and culture of Hamburg and its surroundings. Memories and voices are archived through stitches. Sincere engagement with the world as it has been, and can be, drives a process of artmaking forward that serves both artists and the community in inestimable ways.